Impressions from DKTK fellows who received support from DKTK School of Oncology

Susanne Flach, Munich © Susanne Flach

During my 9 weeks stay in August/September 2022 at the University of Manchester, U.K., which was supported by the DKTK Research Rotation Grant, I was able to initiate a collaborative research project with Prof. Wedge’s group on studying clonal evolution in head and neck cancers using computational models. The aim of this collaborative project is to dissect the epithelial, immune, and stromal cellular ecosystem of normal mucosa as well as low- and high-grade dysplastic and malignant lesions in the upper aerodigestive tract that have been collected multi-regionally and to link them to their respective genomic and transcriptomic          profiles using cross-omics integration. This will hopefully help us to better understand which    individuals with premalignancies will progress and develop clinically significant cancers within  their lifetimes as well as identifying ways to intercept the disease in future. December 2022

                                                        Susanne Flach, Munich

Florestan Koll, Frankfurt/Mainz ( © Florestan Koll)

I presented a poster about my parts of my current bladder cancer research at the International Bladder Cancer Network meeting in Barcelona. With about 150 participants it is a rather small conference that allowed me to directly talk to the international experts involved in improving diagnostics and exploring novel therapeutic approached for bladder cancer. I was able to exchange research results and ideas, get new input and further advance my planned collaborative project in the United States. The meeting location was fabulous in the old Hospital de Sant Pau leading to a wonderful atmosphere in Barcelona. I thank the DKTK School of Oncology for supporting me with a travel grant. October 2022

Florestan Koll, Frankfurt/Mainz

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Luca Hegedus, Essen (© Luca Hegedus)

The participation on the World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) 2022 meeting in Vienna was a great experience for me. The plenary and educational sessions provided a complete overview of the current therapeutic options and latest research findings on lung cancer in different stages. Special sessions and discussion groups were devoted to rare thoracic malignancies including mesotheliomas that I have a special interest for. Sessions about lung cancer epidemiology or lectures of patient advocacy groups helped to further broaden my view on this disease. During the lunch breaks and the poster sessions there were plenty of opportunities for scientific exchange. There was a great interest in our findings and I received valuable feedback. I would like to thank the DKTK for supporting my participation in this                                                         conference with this travel grant. August 2022

                                                        Luca Hegedus, Essen

Maximilian Deng and PD Dr. med. Laila König, Heidelberg (© Maximilian Deng)

I feel blessed to have the unique opportunity of presenting my research at the Annual Meeting of the German Society of Radiation Oncology 2022 in Stuttgart. I have presented and discussed my latest findings on molecularly-guided precision radiotherapy in patients with meningioma as an oral presentation, and further on pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma as poster presentation. The scientific exchange with my colleagues have inspired and motivated me to further promote the translation from molecular brain tumor classification to clinical patient care in radiooncology. I am grateful for the support by the DKTK School of Oncology and the Physician-Scientist program of the Medical Faculty Heidelberg, and further for the support of my mentors Prof. Dr. Dr. Jürgen Debus and PD Dr. Laila König. Mai 2022

Maximilian Deng, Heidelberg



Thomas Walle, Heidelberg (@Thomas Walle)

Support from the DKTK School of Oncology enabled me to present our work on radiotherapy-induced Natural Killer cell responses to an international audience at the AACR Annual Meeting 2022. Our presentation received much attention and positive feedback from leaders in the fields of radiotherapy and Natural Killer cell based immunotherapies. I am convinced that this helped promote both our research as well as the DKTK internationally and we hope to collaborate with our new contacts in the future. April 2022

Thomas Walle, Heidelberg


Thomas Walle, Heidelberg (@ Thomas Walle)

The DKTK Research Rotation Grant has enabled me to develop data analysis pipelines for our high dimensional clinical immunomonitoring platform at NCT Heidelberg. This collaboration with our partners at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, U.S.A will also help us to translate our understanding of cancer immunotherapies into benefit for patients in future projects. April 2020

Thomas Walle, Heidelberg


Anne Zaremba, Essen (left), Noemi Bender, Heidelberg (center) and Nadja Salomon, Mainz (right) (@Noemi Bender)

In the NaWik seminar „Science Communication“ in Karlsruhe, I learned that a good presentation is tailored to its audience. It conveys why the topic is interesting for the listeners – be it fellow scientists or school children. March 2020

Noemi Bender, Heidelberg





Sebastian Vosberg

The research rotation at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City in February/March 2020 enabled the initiation of a collaborative research project based on resources from both institutes. I had the chance to meet with experts in the fields of cancer epigenetics as well as metabolomics and got fully integrated in the research group. After cancelling my stay prematurely due to the Covid-19 spread, we continued the collaborative work via Skype calls and Zoom meetings and I hope to return to the lab in New York continuing my stay eventually.

Sebastian Vosberg, Munich


Tamara Werner

Due to the corona crisis, the 2020 edition of the BioBusiness Summer School was the first online edition of this course. The organizers and speakers adopted absolutely great to this situation to give the participants the best experience during this amazing week. It was a great opportunity to hear lectures about important aspects in the life science business like intellectual property rights, business development, regulatory affairs and finance models. The program was completed by helpful information about career options in life science industry as well as advice for career planning and job applications. I would highly recommend this Summer School to PhD students and Postdocs, especially those contemplating about a career                                                          switch from academia to industry.

                                                         Tamara Werner, Freiburg


Bruno Cadilha

The seminar series „Translating Science into Clinical Practice“ was well structured and lectured by a very dynamic panel of experts. It was a fantastic opportunity to be primed in this topic. The concepts learned and the introduction to a network of experts in the field encouraged me to pursue the translation of my science into clinical practice.

Bruno Cadilha, Munich


Johannes Hildebrand

The workshop Translating Science into Clinical Practice gave me valuable practical advices on the long path from having a good business idea to the actual product. For my further career I am more aware of the process it takes to bring science on the market and I have obtained many tools one needs to know to start a business in the translational field. Thanks for the good organization and the great real-life examples from the speakers.

Johannes Hildebrand, Munich


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Daria Klusa

Thanks to DKTK School of Oncology Travel Grant I attended ESTRO 2021 conference - the biggest multidisciplinary event combining the biological and clinical knowledge from the field of radiotherapy. Within my PhD thesis, I am focused on the application of circulating tumor cells exhibiting stemness and radioresistant properties as a biomarker for metastatic prostate cancer patients' prognosis undergoing radiotherapy. As a biologist, it is often a challenge to understand the true clinical need. Therefore I found particularly valuable clinical sessions which this year strongly stressed a phenomenon of oligometastatic patients undergoing metastases-directed radiotherapy. Upon joining multiple clinical and biological talks, as well as poster sessions, I realized how underinvestigated are currently ongoing studies involving liquid biopsies in combination with radiotherapy which brought a fresh motivation into the project I                                  am currently involved in. Moreover, onsite attendance was a great opportunity to improve                                                networking skills in the multidisciplinary environment while exchanging experience with other                                                          young scientists.

 Daria Klusa, Dresden